Irina & George Arabagi came to the United States in 2000 after winning a Lottery Green Card. They settled in Sacramento, California, where they teach dance and have organized several Ukrainian folk ensembles. They shared the teaching spotlight with Steve Kotansky at the 44th Annual Festival of Laguna Folk Dancers in Newport Beach, California in February 2014.
Irina Arabagi was born in Ukraine and studied ballet and folk dance from the age of six. She was accepted into the Kiev State College of Performing Arts and, after graduation, worked at the Moldovan National Academic State Dance Company (JOC), becoming a soloist and principal dancer.
George Arabagi began dancing as a teenager in Moldova and eventually joined a local folk dance ensemble as their youngest dancer. After high school, George studied at the Moldavian Choreographic College and became a principal dancer. During their 20+ years dancing in JOC, they had the opportunity to tour and work with acclaimed choreographers throughout Eastern Europe. In addition, George was awarded the title of “People’s Artist” and Irina “Merited Artist of Moldova.”
Both George and Irina are pleased to have a role in preserving the rich folk dance traditions of Ukraine and Moldova. They teach at major folk dance festivals and camps in California, including Stockton, and recently in Japan.
See Dick Oakes’ biography of them for more information.